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proposal for issue 393 (concrete packaging spec)

From: Mark Jones <jones@research.att.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 14:04:23 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <200210241804.OAA08711@bual.research.att.com>
To: xml-dist-app@w3.org
Cc: jones@research.att.com

I volunteered to put together a proposal for resolving issue 393:

  "The Web Services Architecture Working Group encourages the XML
  Protocol Working Group to produce a concrete packaging (attachment)
  specification to validate the SOAP/1.2 Attachment Feature
  specification. A normative standard for a concrete specification is
  also important for reference from other standards and specifications
  and is considered a high priority by the WSAWG.

  The XML Protocol Working Group may be the most appropriate venue for
  this work; if not, the Web Services Architecture Working Group will
  probably recommend that a new Working Group be chartered to do this in
  the near future because the lack of a concrete specification that can
  be the basis for interoperable SOAP attachments implementations is a
  hole in the Web services architecture that needs to be addressed as
  soon as possible."


The Web Services Architecture Working Group has identified the lack
of standards for a concrete packaging specification as a serious
concern.  A dependence upon a packaging specification exists in
many enterprises:
 * other standards such as ebXML
 * frameworks such as the SOAP with Attachments API for Java
   (SAAJ) and JAX-RPC
 * company specifications and best common practice profiles

Two packaging mechanisms have attracted particular attention:
 1) a MIME-multipart scheme, SOAP Messages with Attachments (SwA)
    [W3C Note, http://www.w3.org/TR/SOAP-attachments]. 
 2) the Direct Internet Message Encapsulation (DIME) scheme [IETF Drafts,
    http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-nielsen-dime-02.txt and


Given the experience represented in the XML Protocol WG, the
importance of a concrete packaging spec as recognized by the Web
Services Architecture Working Group, and the potential issues involved
in validating the SOAP/1.2 Attachment Feature specification, the XML
Protocol WG should accept the challenge of addressing this issue.

In addressing the issue, the XML Protocol WG would
 * remain cognizant of the general imperative to prefer re-use
   to invention
 * acknowledge the mind share that already exists with SwA and DIME
 * determine whether those schemes in their current form satisfy
   all the relevant constraints imposed by the SOAP 1.2 Attachment Feature,
   taking into account additional LC issues raised against that spec
   such as 390, 391 and 392.
 * recommend minimal changes to these frameworks, create best common
   practice profiles, or version the specs as required

In the case of SwA, published as a W3C Note, it may be possible to see
this "qualifying" activity as creating a new version of SwA (subject to
IPR issues).

In the case of DIME, published as an IETF draft, it is not clear to me
how versioning it as a W3C spec could/would work.  (As an IETF draft,
we cannot normatively reference it, even to bless it in a best common
practice profile.)


This activity would be independent of the effort to standardize SOAP
1.2 and should not be construed as holding up progress on it in any
way.  The WG member effort on packaging would be subordinate to
efforts to get SOAP 1.2 out.  If the packaging effort cannot be
completed within the time frame of the current charter (end of 2002),
an extension would be sought to complete the activity (and any other
additional work also accepted by the WG).
Received on Thursday, 24 October 2002 14:05:39 UTC

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